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 STATIC STRETCHING IMPAIRS SPRINT PERFORMANCE

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PostSubject: STATIC STRETCHING IMPAIRS SPRINT PERFORMANCE   Fri May 22, 2009 5:06 am

JASON B. WINCHESTER,1 ARNOLD G. NELSON,1 DENNIS LANDIN,1 MICHAEL A. YOUNG,1
AND IRVING C. SCHEXNAYDER
1Department of Kinesiology; 2Athletics Department, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
ABSTRACT
Previous research has shown that static stretching (SS) can diminish the peak force output of stretch-shortening cycle actions while performing a dynamic warm-up (DW) protocol has been shown to enhance performance in similar activities. The purpose of this study was to establish whether the deleterious
effects of SS would wash out the performance enhancements obtained from the DW. Eleven males and 11 females, who were athletes of a NCAA Division I track team, performed a DW followed with either a SS or rest (NS) condition. After warm-up was completed, three 40 m sprints were performed to investigate the effects of the SS condition on sprint performance when preceded byDW. Time(s) were obtained from timing gates placed at 0, 20, and 40 m respectively. Testing was conducted over 2 days with a 1 week washout period. Testing order was
balanced to eliminate possible order effect. Time for the NS versus the SS group was significantly faster for the second 20 m with a time of 2.41 versus 2.38 seconds (P # .05), and for the entire 40 m with a time of 5.6 6 0.4 versus 5.7 6 0.4 seconds (P # .05). The results of this study suggest that performing a SS
protocol following a DW will inhibit sprint performance in collegiate athletes.
KEY WORDS flexibility, sprinting, track & field, active warm-up INTRODUCTION
Flexibility (joint range of motion) is promoted as an important component of physical fitness (26). It is widely conjectured that increasing flexibility will
promote better performances and reduce the incidence of injury (29,31). Consequently, stretching exercises designed to enhance flexibility are regularly included in both the training programs, and the pre-event warm-up
activities of many athletes (16). Notwithstanding the widespread acceptance and use of stretching exercises as a major component of pre-event activities, the purported benefits of stretching upon performance and injury prevention have come into question in several review papers (13,38). In addition, recent research has established an adverse effect of acute static stretching upon various different maximal performances. For example, prevent stretching has demonstrated an inhibitory effect on maximal force or torque production (3,11,23), vertical jump
performance (40), and running speed (24). The use of a dynamic warm-up protocol (DW) has garnered attention in the literature in recent years as an
effective means of enhancing athletic performance and providing for a safe warm-up procedure (Cool. Young and Behm (40) found an increase in countermovement jump height and rate of force development (RFD) when usingDW over performing a traditional, general warm-up. In addition, the same researchers reported a significant performance increase in drop jump height, countermovement jump,
contact time, RFD, and peak force when using DW compared to static stretching (40). Similar results have been reported by Fletcher and Jones (10) with an increase in sprint performance, by Stewart et al. (32) improved power
production, and Trimble and Harp (35) with a potentiation of the H-reflex. Additional research confirmed the above findings (Cool. Given the deleterious effect of passive muscle stretching in a laboratory setting on skills relying on the rate of force production and peak force generation, one could assume that
preperformance stretching would negatively influence the performance of explosive sports such as sprinting (24). What is found in the laboratory, however, does not always directly transfer to sport performances. For an example, one can look at the confounding results such as those reported in Little and Williams (19), who was able to demonstrate an improvement in sprint performance using both static and dynamic stretching protocols in a 20 m flying sprint start, but the dynamic stretch group only improved in a 10 m sprint from a standard start. Since preperformance stretching is still widely practiced by sport coaches, it was questioned whether the negative influence noted in earlier research would.
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